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avens 09-12-2021 12:18 AM

Pulsatilla and Badger Passes
6 Attachment(s)
After reading zeljkok’s trip report, we could not resist a trip into JO29, where we camped for three nights. Time is a luxury when hiking from a base camp, as we got to spend an entire day at each of Pulsatilla Lake and Badger Pass. The views are big and bold, the landscape is beautiful and the fall colours are gorgeous. We spent hours wandering around the north and then west sides of the lake. The west side is particularly inviting, hidden by the wall of rock is a small pool of water, fed by the waterfall, the pool then makes its way to the lake through a break in the rock, such an idyllic space back there. To top it all off, a couple of loons were on the lake. Prior to hiking back up the pass, we roamed around the mid ramp of the ridge on the west side. After reaching the pass, we hiked up to the high point on the east side for views.

The next day we headed up to Badger Pass, it was very windy at the pass, so we had our lunch break tucked behind the edge of the mountain on the right side, out of the wind. After lunch, it was time to explore the incredible bands of rock on the other side of the pass. Then we spotted a ridge and thought we may hike up to get views. There are small tarns at the bottom of the ridge, among all of this fascinating rock, which would be a great destination in its own right, and a fine place to relax among the rocks. But we headed up to the ridge, which was steeper than anticipated. The views were really magnificent at the top, mountains as far as we could see, and a stunning view of the tarn down below the other side of the ridge. We had very good descent, as we found a channel of huge flat boulders going straight down, which made for better progress.

On day four, we hiked out, the Ranger Cabin is a great place to stop for a lunch break. This is a superb backpacking trip, JO29 is fantastic and very few people are about. Thanks to zeljkok for this one.

Attachment 288616
Fall colours toward Pulsatilla Pass

Attachment 288618
Pulsatilla Lake and view toward the pass

Attachment 288620
Water from pond flowing down into the lake

Attachment 288622
View from top of ridge, Badger Pass is just around the bend on the right

Attachment 288624
Interesting bands of rock and small tarn at base of ridge

Attachment 288626
View of tarn on the other side of the ridge

zeljkok 09-12-2021 03:50 PM

This is great, thank you so much for posting this. I am now envious, it was obvious at least full day was needed to properly explore each of the passes.

The lake you have aerial pic off from Bonnet ridge is Badger Lake. At Block Lakes Junction (campground in valley other side of Badger Pass) there is signpost "Badger Lake" pointing up in that direction, but no apparent trail, at least initially - to that valley would be fantastic to explore, there are several lakes lower down as well.

Do you have any shots of Bonnet Glacier from the ridge? How difficult would it be to scramble Mt. Bonnet from the ridge?

avens 09-12-2021 10:06 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the information, we were not aware that the tarn is known as Badger Lake. We are not great scramblers, the slabs would be really tricky for us, going up under the slabs was difficult for a short bit, as it was small moving rock on slabs underneath, so we took a different route down. The ridge was not high enough to view the glacier. Unfortunately, we don’t have great photos of Bonnet from the ridge.

Attachment 288632
We gained the ridge between the slabs on left and shadow line on right.

Attachment 288628
Closer view of the ridge.

Attachment 288630
Our only shot of Bonnet from the ridge.

zeljkok 09-13-2021 12:09 AM

Nice shots, thank you. This is great Beta. I looked to some extent all over Internet but could not find such a good view of ascent slopes above Badger Pass as you posted. From the Pass it might appear once you get to the ridge Bonnet would be right there, but apparently still ways to go; I am quite surprised you couldn't still see the glacier. Rest to the summit looks easy enough though. I know now I'll be back; if only Johnson Creek wasn't so long. But it's still shortest way in for JO29.

avens 09-13-2021 03:14 PM

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Too bad it did not cross our minds to take pics up toward Bonnet, as we would never consider taking on that ascent, we are aged, but neophyte scramblers, having not spent enough years living close to the Rockies. Therefore, we have no idea if a scramble from that ridge is even possible.

Attachment 288694
This is the same shot as yours, without snow on the trail, from Badger Pass side of Bonnet. May be an interesting route up, but far from the high point of Bonnet.

We can certainly attest to the long haul into JO29. On the way in, we had the whole Ink Pot trail to ourselves, as 1A was closed due to whatever incident took place at Johnston Canyon. I had to call Parks so the flag person could hear Parks say the flag person can let us go to Moose Meadows parking. It was another story on the way out from the Ink Pots, with everything open again, so we floored it to get past the mob, and then the last 3 km were rather tortuous.

zeljkok 09-14-2021 02:04 AM

Great shot, so that was a trail; I was not 100% sure from the pass
You might be aged, but you are certainly not unfit. 21+km to JO29 with overnight pack and trail is not always easy. Then this off-trail from Badger Pass to Bonnet Ridge; this is basically class 2 talus scramble. Plus you have a shot of Badger Lake I can not find anywhere else.

I was scrambling a lot in the past when I still believed quality of outdoor time is measured by # of peaks you ascend. I know better now ;=) But Bonnet is such a vantage point from many other areas; today I looked at it & glacier from Baker Lake area. Then it is so remote, like an expedition to get there and through variety of terrain so I'd certainly like to bag it at some point

JHam 10-03-2021 01:30 PM

4 Attachment(s)
The ridge is easy to gain. It is a light scramble to the SW outlier of Bonnet, which gives great views, even with all the forest fire smoke this summer. The Bonnet glacier is mostly snow free by late July. Thus it is relatively easy and safe to traverse, depending on your comfort level. However, the crevasses and variable snow coverage still remain on the east side of the glacier just before the north ridge up to the true summit, which stopped me on this day (see first and last photo). Last photo is a shot of the true summit of Bonnet and the north ridge with scree slope access up from the glacier.

Note that Avens' picture is actually looking towards SW outlier, not true summit of Bonnet. You cannot connect from SW outlier to true summit, but you can easily descend outlier down scree slopes and make a small loop back to Badger Pass with minor route finding to avoid cliff bands.

zeljkok 10-03-2021 03:34 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thank you for clarifying this JHam. Think I understand now
Attachment 289096

Your second shot is from talus slopes up SW outlier, looking back, col is right below and that is Hickson upper center

So if you are going for true summit of Bonnet, you'd drop to glacier from or near the col. Only thing I am not sure is why avens couldn't see the glacier, because it seems to be right on the other side of the col. Hickson appears to be much more serious btw, prob. not a scramble even if you bypass that buttress above the col on the glacier.

JHam 10-03-2021 05:00 PM

I presume Avens was still a little ways down on the benches below Bonnet col. There is a mound at the north end of the east bench where the trail through the final scree up to the col starts, which he took a photo of.

I will post a few more photos later.

I found an old Ramblers report that stated Hickson was a moderate scramble from the glacier side but the glacier thereabouts is more serious with larger crevasses (and still somewhat hidden by snow even in late July as you can see in the photo).

zeljkok 10-03-2021 05:27 PM

I've seen that Ramblers report too

but they approached glacier from Red Deer Lakes. They call outlier "South Bonnet Peak"
[Outlier long ridge center-right, Bonnet summit left]

I've been 1hr past Natural Bridge & was wondering at a time where trail eventually ends. Also one of their group fell into crevasse traversing to Hickson, so this kind of route is quite hardcore. But Bonnet outlier seems reasonably straightforward from Badger Pass side.

JHam 10-03-2021 08:58 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Yes what they called South Bonnet is what I called Southwest outlier. They had full gear and had a bit more liberty to explore the glacier, using it when they felt it was necessary.

Picture 1 is a view south coming down from Bonnet Col towards Badger Pass (high centre w/ some snow cornice still). I deduce that Avens was down at the knoll in the centre L and then perhaps went upwards to a southern ridge that come off the South summit/SW Outlier?

Picture 2 shows the south face of the main Bonnet summit from the SW ridge. I wonder if there will be an arch there in say 10 000 years after some more erosion?

The cairn on top of the SW outlier/South Bonnet Peak is monumental, but not important enough for a register I guess. I agree route is straightforward (YDS 1-2 w/ minimal exposure).

I did do another loop on the same backpacking trip a couple days later from Red Deer Lakes up past the natural bridge, south along the Lynchis glacier, over the Lynchis col, down past Heart Lake and then back to Red Deer Lakes, but that is another story. The trail soon fades out south past the natural bridge so it was a bush bash until treeline, but upon retrospect some ways will be easier up that valley compared to others...

Certainly wish I had the visibility Avens had...

avens 10-03-2021 11:03 PM

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Fantastic views of the glacier. Here is our GPS track to indicate where we were. We were only at 9305 feet, too low to view the glacier.

Attachment 289106
Our route

zeljkok 10-03-2021 11:31 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This now makes sense, you went saddle to the right & this is why you had aerial of Badger Lake. Red line is normal talus "trail" to the col & then up to Bonnet Outlier. Simple map is worth a thousand words ;=)

Attachment 289108

Your route is also probably what JHam refers to as alternate descent to Badger Pass from Bonnet Outlier

you can easily descend outlier down scree slopes and make a small loop back to Badger Pass with minor route finding to avoid cliff bands[Left skyline ridge is "normal" route to Outlier from saddle & where JHam took his second photo in earlier post]

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